The Longhorns didn’t skip a beat without their leading rusher and receiver.
Joe Bergeron rushed for 191 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries as Texas manhandled Texas Tech up front en route to a 52-20 win at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
The Longhorns (6-2; 3-2 Big 12) pounded out 439 yards on the ground, their second straight game with at least 400 rushing yards. Texas drove into the red zone six times and came away with six touchdowns — all rushing.
For the first time this season, UT didn’t punt. The only drives that didn’t result in points were two short possessions to end each half. Freshman tailback Malcolm Brown, who leads the team with 635 rushing yards, missed the game with turf toe, and No. 1 receiver Jaxon Shipley was held out with a knee injury. Both were game-time decisions, and Texas head coach Mack Brown said he didn’t expect such a lopsided score minus his two biggest offensive threats.
“I’m a little shocked,” said Brown, who improved to 11-3 against Tech.
Bergeron, who celebrated his 19th birthday Saturday, picked up right where he left off a week ago against Kansas, when the freshman rushed for 136 yards and two scores. He burst free for a 51-yard gain in the second quarter, the longest run for Texas this season.
He capped a 7-play, 68-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, his first of the game. He also scored from five and 12 yards out. Bergeron’s 29 carries were a career high, and he got stronger as the game wore on and the Red Raider defense tired.
“After a while, the defense will crack,” Bergeron said. “When you keep pounding the ball, eventually they will crack. And then you keep pounding the ball.”
That’s exactly what the Longhorns did. Texas rushed 54 times, compared to just nine pass attempts. But when freshman quarterback David Ash did drop back, he found open receivers downfield on play-action.
Ash went 4-for-7 for 125 yards and for the first time in his three games as a starter, didn’t turn the ball over.
Texas Tech (5-3; 2-3) drove down the field on the game’s opening possession, with quarterback Seth Doege completing 9-of-11 passes. The Red Raiders had a first-and-goal from the 2-yard line but after a slew of penalties, settled for a field goal.
The Longhorns defense again stopped Tech in the red zone in the second quarter after the Red Raiders drove 61 yards in seven plays.
“It was huge,” said senior safety Blake Gideon. “We want to keep them out of the end zone; that’s the main thing. If we can hold them to field goals, we know our offense is going to catch up eventually.”
The Longhorns scored on their opening possession for the second time in as many weeks. After Fozzy Whittaker’s 12-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to put UT ahead 10-3, the Longhorns never looked back.
Whittaker finished with 10 carries for 83 yards and two scores. He picked up 41 yards and both touchdowns when taking direct snaps out of the “Wild” formation.
That package was very effective against the Red Raiders. Junior tailback D.J. Monroe took a handoff from Whittaker and carried 12 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, his first of the season.
The Longhorns outrushed the Red Raiders by 409 yards and held them 19 points below their average.
That’s the blueprint Texas needs to reach their goal of 10 wins.
“If you don’t turn the ball over, run the ball and stop the run, you have a chance each week,” Brown said.
Malcolm Brown could have played, but Bergeron assured the Longhorns could afford to rest their leading rusher. The coaching staff said they expect Brown to play next week at Missouri.
Printed on Monday, November 7, 2011 as: Longhorns expose Texas Tech